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Photos: what Houston’s catastrophic floods look like from the ground

Highways are now rivers.

A sign indicates the height of floodwater on Route 288 during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017 in Houston.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The National Weather Service is running out of adjectives to describe the severity and impact of the flooding in Houston, Texas, and its surrounding areas.

The remnants of Hurricane Harvey (once a Category 4 storm) have dumped feet of rain on the city. And feet more are still to come. The service has called the flooding disaster “catastrophic” and “life threatening.” It’s said “the breadth and intensity of this rainfall are beyond anything experienced before,” and that “this event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown...” It even had to readjust the color schemes on its rainfall total maps to show rainfall totals greater than 20 inches. And remember: The Weather Service is a government agency known for its sober-minded messaging and avoidance of hyperbole.

It may be hard to fathom what feet of rain — amounts equaling yearly averages falling in a few days — look like. Parts of Houston have recorded 30 or as high as 40 inches of rain so far. This is where images help. Here, collected from photo wires and social media posts, is what a catastrophic flood looks like.

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images

The most recent shot of the flooding on Buffalo Bayou #houston #harvey #hurricane #weather

A post shared by Jordan Anderson (@jordanandrsn) on

Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
A Texas National Guardsman carries a resident from her flooded home following Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Lt. Zachary West/Army National Guard via Getty Images
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
Homes are seen inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Hurricane Harvey Slams Into Texas Gulf Coast
Naomi Coto carries Simba on her shoulders as they evacuate their home after the area was inundated with flooding.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
A resident walks down a flooded street in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with water.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

People wait in a city dump truck on an I-610 overpass for evacuation.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
People push a disabled car during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
People walk through flooded streets as the effects of Hurricane Harvey are seen August 27, 2017, in Galveston, Texas.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Harvey Slams Into Texas Gulf Coast
A guage shows the depth of water at an underpass on Interstate 10, which has been inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
A man powers his boat with a leaf blower as he floats around floodwater.
Thomas B. Shea/AFP/Getty Images
A volunteer with a jet ski travels on intersection at Wallisville and Uvalde is underwater during Hurricane Harvey, Monday, August 28, 2017.
Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
People evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Hurricane Harvey is photographed aboard the International Space Station as it intensified on its way toward the Texas coast on August 25, 2017.
NASA via Getty Images

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